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Cost reduction proposed for six Hagerstown houses

February 05, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- Officials from the Hagerstown Community Development Department today will recommend that the Hagerstown City Council consider reducing the cost of six city-owned homes that are on the market by as much as 25 percent.

Joe Frazier, the city's rehabilitation services coordinator, said the proposal will be made because the homes aren't selling fast enough in today's sluggish economy.

"What we're trying to do is make houses more affordable to our applicants," he said. "We've had the houses for a while and they're just sitting there."

Frazier said the homes are part of the city's Single Family Homeownership Program, in which the city buys and refurbishes old homes before reselling them.

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Four of the homes are at 212, 214, 441 and 443 N. Jonathan St. The other two homes are at 226 N. Locust St. and 119 Randolph Ave.

The city has sold more than 90 homes since the Single Family Homeownership Program began in 1991, according to city documents. In the past, the city typically sold four to six homes per year through the program, but that number dwindled to two last year. So far this year, the city hasn't sold any homes, according to documents.

The Community Development Department will not recommend that the council make a permanent change to the Single Family Homeownership Program, just temporary steps to help get through the slump in the housing market, Community Development Manager Larry Bayer wrote in a memorandum last month.

Bayer was unavailable Monday to comment further.

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